NFT editor Mike Broadhurst (at the podium) introduces panelists (from right) Joe Grady, Ray Thompson Jr., Ken Knudtzon and Floor Covering Installer magazine editor Jeff Stouffer.
There is always a chance to learn something at Surfaces and, Wednesday afternoon, those following the installation track of the educational seminars found themselves the beneficiaries of more than 100 years of experience in the floor covering installation industry.

Troubleshooting Installation Problems in an Era of New Technologies, sponsored by Floor Covering Installer magazine (NFT’s sister publication) and moderated by FCI Editor Jeffrey Stouffer, presented a look at some of the most common problems that installers confront on the jobsite, and offered up some solutions to them.

"During the past few years, a number of new materials and products have reached the marketplace," Stouffer said, "bringing with them new expectations by both consumers and retailers."

In an effort to help clear some of the obstacles to successful installation, NFT/FCI columnists Ray Thompson Jr., Joe Grady and Ken Knudtzon provided the audience with a sampling of their vast expertise, addressing problems ranging from cupping in wood floors to alkalinity’s damaging effect on VCT. The familiarity with which the panelists dealt with their subject matter emphasized their years of front-line installation experience.

The thrust of the program, as Grady summarized, was to help flooring professionals avoid callbacks. “Callbacks are negative dollars,” he said. “And if you have a lot of negative dollars in your business, then you really do have a problem.”

The 150-plus attendees also had the chance to ask specific questions of the panelists. For 45 minutes, the audience posed questions on everything from aluminum oxide finishes to jobsite preparation and cleanup. The enthusiastic response to the seminar showed that the desire for education and training in the floor covering installation community is arguably more acute than ever.